Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Years Resolutions

Wasn't going to write any resolutions, but the blog was looking a bit bereft with "zero posts" in the 2013 category and my early visit to the shops has been curtailed by a late get-up.And actually these aren't resolutions as scuh - more dichotomies - and I need to move the slider along the line a bit.

1. Work-life balance: this has to change a bit. I hardly took any holiday in 2012, but with work I went abroad 12 times. Great fun and experience, but each trip tends to lead to it being a 60 hour week, as though I can claim time back, I've not had the time to claim it back. So, one way or another, need to make sure I take more holidays/days oweing or cut down on the demands of the job.

2. Books v Space. This is an ongoing battle, and currently the books I buy are almost going straight into boxes ne'er to be seen again, which is a bit pointless, or else creating tottering towers of words, which daunt me even when I think "what shall I read next?" Though I've got a Nook now, I'm not sure it will have much impact on my hardback love. So, I either need more space (move to a bigger flat/house), or less books. Rightmove it is then.

3.  Music v Fiction. I've written very little fiction in 2012, but have recorded over 40 songs. During 1999-2006 I wrote very few songs, but several novels and lots of short stories. There's not an exact correlation but time spent on music takes away from time spent on writing fiction. The key factor is "time" of course. Poems I squeeze in regardless (though they do take other types of time, writing time, emotional time.) So with the 2012 music project finished, I probably need to not just promise to write more, but also to record less. (This relates to 1. above - as you need extended time to write fiction.)

4. Laptop v Desktop. I'm still desktop, but to do more, to be more mobile, even to take some time away from the internet to write etc. will probably need me getting a laptop. I have a bit of a phobia of portable devices in that I don't find they actually add much to my life - they seem more like toys than anything else. The ease of putting a CD on still seems easier than burning all my CDs to PC then deciding which ones to download to an MP3 player etc. But, I've just bought a Nook, and it has made me read more on the move - so I guess some thought needs to go into my portable productivity. The desktop has probably got a year or more still in it though, so don't think its going anywhere yet (and if I upgrade from Windows XP most of my software won't work more than likely.)

5. Ottolenghi v KFC. Not that I go to KFC very often - once a quarter I'd reckon these days - but neither do I cook that much either. I got Ottolenghi's Jerusalem for Xmas, so cooking a bit more, a bit better, is something I want to do. Used to cook a lot, and like recipe books, but got lazy (or too busy), both to cook and shop for the ingredients. So more Ottolenghi (or Nigel Slater or whoever) and less crap food on the run.

6. Poetry v Fiction. Difficult one. In one of my periods of self-analysis, aided by a bit of literary life coaching, I realised that I have a tendency to move from one project to another when one thing is finished - not a bad thing in itself but sometimes the projects would be in totally different art forms. Good for the soul etc. but not that good for self definition. So I wrote short stories, when I was trying to get a novel published, talked about starting a fiction magazine when I'd just had a poetry collection out. D.H. Lawrence never got this kind of brand confusion - you were allowed to be varied back then, but unless you've "made it" (hello Damon Albarn), you're now expected to stay right where you are, which makes it much easier for the world to ignore you, I think. So its not an either or with poetry or fiction, more a case of "don't give up when the going get's tough." So, today Jeremy, I'm still predominantly a poet, and I'm not giving that hard-fought epithet lightly, at least not when my new stuff's pretty good. But I'd like to write another novel...oh crumbs....

7. Twitter v Facebook. Not really. I've always been catholic with my social media, though find them less compelling than I used to Great for social connection (hello Facebook poets) and for finding out stuff (hello Twitter link bait) but my suspicions that they are not exactly revolutions, but evolutions seems to be coming true. But I guess though my job requires me to "keep up", I've not really "kept up" with Path or Google plus or Instagram or whatever the latest thing might be. If data is the new oil, then to be honest, the pipes are already there; other things are likely to be mere add-ons. But given that I'm not taking these platforms too seriously, a New Years Resolution should be to not to take them too seriously. Twitter rage is a real phenomenon and drowns out real debate. Ignore or block.

8. Literature v Literature. Not a dichotomy even. I don't really read much that isn't literature, one way or another. Fifty Shades of Harry Potter will have to wait until my dotage when I can only consume mush, I guess. But literature's a broad enough church I think. However, the "must read" list gets longer, and with tired eyes I don't read half as much as I'd like. So, New Year's resolution of traditional kind: read more.

9. Dance v Rock. I joked a while back that nobody's wrote a song called "Rock and Disco" and its true - I've always veered between the two. White boys doing funk has always been a pleasure (up to a point), and the most vibrant times in music are when different types of music go cheek and jowl, whether its Miles Davis and the Allman Brothers,  The Clash and roots reggae, or New Order meeting Arthur Baker. Internet availability seems to have made everyone happy with their genre and not willing to explore. But, to be honest, in a world of David Guetta, and Pitchfork approved college rock, a bit more rock in 2012 per-lease....

10. 2013 v 2014. Is this a year for now or a year for preparing the ground for the next now? I'm a bit live for the day, really, it tends to make me a bit happier - and I can fret about the future as much as anyone. However, there's a sense that decisions I make this year might have longevity; so a bit more future-planning wouldn't go amiss right now. Isn't that what resolutions are about anyway?

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